Just a simulation: Mock crash gives students look at dangers of drunken driving

Students at Whitewater High School got a chance to participate in a mock crash April 19. Some students were involved in the “crash,” while the rest of the student body watched the emergency response in the aftermath – including a student “death.” Shown here is student Taylor Speerbrecher, who was the drunken driver in the simulation. (Photo by Tom Ganser)

      Although the early afternoon weather outside Whitewater High School on April 19 was cold, rainy, and glooming, it proved to be sadly appropriate for a Mock Motor Vehicle Accident, commonly referred to as a “Mock Crash.”

      The simulation event, last staged in 2016 and cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, was organized by the WHS chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions. The group worked closely with the Whitewater Fire and Emergency Medical Services departments.

      Nicole Grosinske, faculty advisor for SADD, also credited the support of the LaGrange Fire and Rescue Department; the Walworth County Medical Examiner, District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff Department; the Whitewater Streets Department; Kienbaum Iron and Metal Inc.; Nitardy Funeral Services; AROPA Designs; and Zac Popke.

      The accident involved the collision of two vehicles driven by high school students.  The driver responsible for the accident would be charged with driving while intoxicated causing death and failing to stop at a stop sign.

      Playing roles in the mock crash were Anders Clarksen, Grace Coleman, Haley Keltesch, Josh Kirley, Taiya Kolb, Ben McCulloch, Kayla Mikos, A’Lani Rogers, and Taylor Speerbrecher.  Remi Van Daele and Jim McCulloch provided suitable makeup.

      Speerbrecher, who played the driver responsible for the accident, said that the event provides an important look from the driver’s perspective.

      “A few hours of fun and drinking with friends isn’t worth a lifetime in jail,” Speerbrecher explained. “Living with the guilt of killing a person and how that one bad decision ruined many lives, including your own.

      “Even though the reason the crash happened was because of a distracted driver not paying attention to the road, all the events before the crash will cost you after the police arrive at the scene,” she added.

      The scenario began with the students viewing a brief video in their classrooms providing context to the accident – the teens interacting at a party that included drinking alcohol as well as what was happening in the car before the crash.

      The students then walked outside the school to watch happened after the crash as first responders came to the scene of the accident. This included a student death, the “body” being loaded into a hearse and full medical response for the other injured students.

      Following the end of mock crash, students assembled in the auditorium where speakers shared their perspectives on the wide-ranging impact of accidents like this on victims and drivers responsible for the accidents, their family and friends, and first responders.

      For the full story and more photos, please see the print edition of the Whitewater Register.

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